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Dublin: 0 °C Sunday 18 March, 2018

Sean O'Brien returns for Connacht as Bealham gets set to bring up his century

O’Brien has been out of action since September.

Sean O'Brien is back for Connacht this Friday.
Sean O'Brien is back for Connacht this Friday.
Image: Oisin Keniry/INPHO

FINLAY BEALHAM WILL make his 100th appearance for Connacht when they host Zebre in the Guinness Pro14 at the Sportsground on Friday [Kick off: 7.35pm].

Kieran Kean’s men are looking to make it eight wins on the spin at home in all competitions and the prop is one of four changes from the side that beat Ospreys last week.

Darragh Leader comes in for the injured Tiernan O’Halloran to form a back three with Cian Kelleher and Matt Healy, while Eoin Griffin and Tom Farrell retain the centre positions.

Craig Ronaldson and Caolin Blade will once again make up the half-back pairing.

In the forwards, Bealham replaces Conor Carey and is joined by Denis Coulson and Tom McCartney in the front row.

Gavin Thornbury, who came on as a substitute in the victory over Ospreys, starts in place of Andrew Browne at lock while the final change sees Sean O’Brien return from injury to take the number eight jersey from John Muldoon.

O’Brien is joined in the back row by openside Naulia Dawai and blindside Eoghan Masterson who captains the side in Muldoon’s absence.

Connacht XV to play Zebre

15. Darragh Leader
14. Cian Kelleher
13. Eoin Griffin
12. Tom Farrell
11. Matt Healy
10. Craig Ronaldson
9. Caolin Blade

1. Denis Coulson
2. Tom McCartney
3. Finlay Bealham
4. Gavin Thornbury
5. James Cannon
6. Eoghan Masterson (Captain)
7. Naulia Dawai
8. Sean O’Brien

16. Dave Heffernan
17. Peter McCabe
18. Conor Carey
19. Quinn Roux
20. John Muldoon
21. Kieran Marmion
22. Jack Carty
23. Pita Ahki

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